Russo-Ukraine War - 21 June 2022 - Day 118
On 24 February 2022, Ukraine was suddenly and deliberately attacked by land, naval and air forces of Russia, igniting the largest European war since the Great Patriotic War. Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a "special military operation" (SVO - spetsialnaya voennaya operatsiya) in Ukraine in response to the appeal of the leaders of the "Donbass republics" for help. That attack is a blatant violation of the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine. Putin stressed that Moscow's goal is the demilitarization and denazification of the country. The military buildup in preceeding months makes it obvious that the unprovoked and dastardly Russian attack was deliberately planned long in advance. During the intervening time, the Russian government had deliberately sought to deceive the world by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.
"To initiate a war of aggression... is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole." [Judgment of the International Military Tribunal]
One hundred and eighteenth day of the heroic opposition of the Ukrainian nation to the Russian military invasion continues.
US Attorney General Merrick Garland pledged during a visit to Ukraine to help prosecute war crimes committed since the Russian invasion in late February. “I’m here to express the unwavering support of the United States for the people of Ukraine in the midst of the unprovoked and unjust Russian invasion,” Garland told reporters after meeting with Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova near the Polish-Ukrainian border. “I’m here to continue our discussions, myself and the prosecutor general, of the actions that the United States is taking to assist the Ukrainian authorities in holding accountable those responsible for the atrocities or the war crimes that the entire world has seen,” he said in remarks broadcast on Fox News. “The United States is sending an unmistakable message – there is no place to hide,” Garland said. “We and our partners will pursue every avenue available to ensure that those who are responsible for these atrocities are held accountable.”
Moscow said the US citizens captured in Ukraine are subject to court decisions and did not rule out that they could face the death penalty. “We can’t rule anything out, because these are court decisions. We don’t comment on them and have no right to interfere,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters. He said the Kremlin did not know where the men were now, after their families said they had not returned from a mission around the Kharkiv region. The Kremlin said that the two Americans detained in Ukraine were mercenaries not covered by the Geneva Conventions and should face consequences for their actions.
The UK Ministry of Defence reported that on 17 June 2022, Ukrainian forces claimed their first successful use of Western-donated Harpoon anti-ship missiles to engage Russian maritime forces. The target of the attack was almost certainly the Russian naval tug Spasatel Vasily Bekh, which was delivering weapons and personnel to Snake Island in the north-western Black Sea. The destruction of the Russian vessel on a resupply mission demonstrates the difficulty Russia faces when attempting to support their forces occupying Snake Island. This is the latest in a series of Russian vessels, including the cruiser Moskva, to be damaged or destroyed by Ukraine during the conflict. Ukrainian coastal defence capability has largely neutralised Russia's ability to establish sea control and project maritime force in the north-western Black Sea. This has undermined the viability of Russia's original operational design for the invasion, which involved holding the Odesa region at risk from the sea.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported no significant changes in the activities of units of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus have been recorded in the Volyn and Polissya areas. The threat of missile strikes from the territory of this country remains. In the northern direction, the Russians continues the engineering equipment of the border areas and mining. Russians fired mortars and artillery at the settlements of Seredyna-Buda, Myropillya, Yunakivka, Sumy region, and Gremyach in the Chernihiv region.
In the Kharkiv direction, the Russians conducted air reconnaissance in the areas of the settlements of Ruska Lozova, Cherkaska Lozova and Pitomnyk. Artillery shelling was recorded near Kharkiv, Peremohy, Verkhnyi Saltov, Staryi Saltov, Chepil, Rubizhny and Staraya Hnylytsia. In addition, MLRS was used in the districts of Korobochkine, Mospanove and Kutuzivka. In the Slavic direction, the Russians focuses its main efforts on maintaining previously occupied positions, conducting defense. Artillery shelling was recorded in the areas of the settlements of Bogorodichne, Velyka Komyshuvakha, Hrushuvakha, Dolyna, Petrivske, Zavgorodne, Protopopivka, Pryshib, Karnaukhivka, Vernopillya, Chervone, Dovhenke and Krasnopillya. The occupiers launched an air strike near Dibrivny.
In the Donetsk direction, the Russians regrouped in order to strengthen for further action in the Bakhmut direction. In addition, the formation of consolidated units was identified. Thus, in connection with significant losses, the reorganization of two battalion tactical groups from the units of the 5th All-Military Army, which lost their combat capability, into one consolidated BTGr was noted. Also, according to available information, the Russians brought units of the 1st Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 1st Army Corps to restore combat capability. In the Kramatorsk direction, the Russians did not take active action, firing at the positions of Ukrainian troops with mortars, barrel and jet artillery in the areas of Donetsk, Starodubivka, Mykolaivka and Pryshib.
Fighting continues in the Severodonetsk direction in the city of Severodonetsk. The Russians fired from tanks and artillery near Severodonetsk, Lysychansk, Voronovo, Myrna Dolyna and Hirsky. The Ukrainian soldiers competently repulsed the Russians's reconnaissance attempt by fighting in the directions of Metolkine-Voronovo and Metolkine-Sirotyne. The Russians retreated.
The occupiers are consolidating in the settlement of Ustynivka, are conducting an offensive in the direction of Bila Hora, had partial success, and hostilities continue. In the direction of Toshkivka - Pidlisne, the Russians captured the settlements of Pidlisne and Myrna Dolyna, consolidated on the occupied frontiers. Also, has partial success in the area of the settlement of Gorske. The Ukrainian soldiers successfully repulsed the assault in the direction of Vysokyi.
In the Bakhmut direction, the Russians fired on the areas of Berestovo and Komyshuvakha. Russians led the offensive in the direction of Alexandropol - Komyshuvakha. Russians was unsuccessful, Russians left. The Russians did not take active action in the Avdiivka, Novopavlivska and Zaporizhzhya areas. Russians fired on the territories near Krasnohorivka, Acute, Novoandriyivka, Huliaipilsky and Novosilka. In the direction of the South Bug, the Russians, in order to deplete the personnel and destroy the fortifications, carried out fire on the positions of Ukrainian troops and conducted air reconnaissance of UAVs.
Russian forces relentlessly shelled the eastern town of Lysychansk, but Monday night, relative to two “heavy” nights that came before, was reasonably quiet, Luhansk’s governor said. “From what I understand they simply exhausted themselves and have stopped to regroup,” Serhiy Haidai said on television. He said there was no information yet about casualties as there had been no break in the shelling to safely enter the town. In the city of Severodonetsk, across the river, Haidai said “fierce fighting” was continuing in the industrial zone. All critical infrastructure in the city has been destroyed, and there is no centralised water, electricity or gas, he said.
The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation continue to conduct a special military operation in Ukraine. At a briefing in the department, the official representative of the Russian Ministry of Defense, Lieutenant-General Igor Konashenkov, spoke about the forced mobilization of men by the Kyiv regime. This is happening in the settlements of the Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkiv and Zaporozhye regions adjacent to the combat zone. Localities are blocked by the national police, and men of all age groups subject to mobilization are detained. In addition, the Kyiv regime spread information about Zelensky’s alleged “secret” trip to Lysychansk, where he came under fire.
At the same time, as Konashenkov explained, the grouping of Ukrainian troops in the Lisichansk region is cut off from supplies and is under the fire control of the Russian armed forces. According to Ukrainian prisoners, units of the 79th Airborne Assault Brigade have been abandoned by their command, the Major General said at a briefing. The only thing left for the surviving soldiers was to surrender in order to save their lives.
The 57th Mechanized Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine is in the same condition, whose commander, after the loss of two-thirds of the personnel, begged the command of the group to report the true state of affairs to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and Zelensky personally.
Lieutenant General Igor Konashenkov also spoke about attacks on the BK-1 and Krym-1 gas production platforms. As a result of the Ukrainian provocation, a strong fire started on the BK-1 platform, and a threat of an ecological catastrophe was created in this area of the Black Sea. This shelling was preceded by other events. - On June 20, at about 5 o'clock in the morning, the Kyiv regime made another attempt to seize Snake Island, - said Lieutenant General Konashenkov. After a massive artillery and air strike on the island, the Kyiv regime intended to land troops on the island and capture this important strategic object. Drones were involved in the air raid, and their anti-aircraft cover was provided by anti-aircraft missile systems from combat positions in the area of Tuzla and Ochakov. Rocket and artillery strikes on Zmeiny Island were carried out by Ukrainian Tochka-U ballistic missiles, Uragan multiple launch rocket systems and M-777 155-mm howitzers from firing positions west of Odessa and on Kubansky Island.
Russian air defense systems destroyed all weapons fired on the island, the ministry said. “None of the Ukrainian fire weapons reached the target on Zmeiny Island,” a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense said. The enemy refused to land troops on the island. An attempt to capture the island failed, and the Kyiv regime went on a new adventure, firing at gas production platforms.
In response to the sabotage by the Kyiv regime, Onyx cruise missiles at the Shkolny military airfield near Odessa destroyed hangars with Ukrainian Bayraktar-TB2 unmanned aerial vehicles identified during the operation by Russian reconnaissance equipment. Two artillery platoons of 155-mm M-777 howitzers were destroyed on Kubansky Island. In addition, Russian Aerospace Forces aircraft destroyed two launchers of the S-300 anti-aircraft missile system in the Ochakov and Tuzla regions of the Odessa region.
Ukraine said it had “finally” deployed an advanced German artillery system, in the latest delivery of the long-range, precision weapons that it had been calling for. “Panzerhaubitze 2000 are finally part of 155 mm howitzer arsenal of the Ukrainian artillery,” Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov wrote on social media, thanking his German counterpart Christine Lambrecht. Germany said last month it would send seven self-propelled howitzers to Ukraine, ramping up deliveries of heavy weapons to help Kyiv battle Russia’s invasion.
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